ADR Benchmarking research

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Research conducted into comparative performance of case handling activities of dispute resolution schemes (non-Ombudsman) in the UK. Research commissioned by London TravelWatch

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ADR Benchmarking research

  1. 1. London TravelWatchBenchmark of casework activityVersion 1.616 June 2010 Complaintsrgreat limited Studio 44 17 Holywell Hill Hertfordshire AL1 1DT Email: info@complaintsrgreat.com
  2. 2. Benchmarking review - research Complaintsrgreat limitedContentsThe briefing........................................................................................................3Methodology......................................................................................................3Organisations identified.....................................................................................3Findings..............................................................................................................4 Development of a target for case closure.............................................4 Development of performance indicators for tracking outcomes achieved................................................................................................4 Regular meetings with companies and organisations..........................5Appendix A: Air Transport Users Council (AUC)...............................................6 Publicity.................................................................................................6 Resources.............................................................................................6Appendix B: Bus Users UK / Bus Appeals Body...............................................8 Publicity.................................................................................................8 Resources.............................................................................................8Appendix C: Postal Redress Service (POSTRS)............................................10 Publicity...............................................................................................10 Resources...........................................................................................10Appendix D: Passenger Focus........................................................................12 Publicity...............................................................................................12 Resources...........................................................................................12Appendix E: London TravelWatch...................................................................14 Publicity...............................................................................................14 Resources...........................................................................................15Appendix F: Collected data..............................................................................16Appendix G: Initial research.............................................................................17 2
  3. 3. The briefingLondon TravelWatch (LTW) have commissioned complaintsrgreat limited to carry outa short benchmarking exercise to compare LTWs performance on casework with aselection of other similar organizations. We also carried out initial research (seeAppendix F) that identified suitable organisations for inclusion in the benchmarkingexercise.The areas for comparison suggested by London TravelWatch are: • Volume of main types of work • Speed of turn around • Satisfaction ratings • Outputs / outcomes achieved as a result of the work • Resources available to undertake the workMethodologyOur research is based on visits to four organisations identified following the initialresearch project previously completed by us for London TravelWatch. During eachvisit we collected both verbatim comments and actual data about each organisationscasework activities.The research provides an overview of the comparative information that has beencollated - not an in-depth analysis. This is because of the accepted constraints on thetime allocated to this project (both the initial and full research were completed withina total of four days).Organisations identifiedWe identified the following organisations as suitable for comparison based on a)being a body that handles appeals or appeal complaints (an escalated complaint)and b) has some relation to transport or locally provided service issues. • Bus Appeals Body • Passenger Focus • Air Transport Users Council • Postal Redress Service 3
  4. 4. FindingsThe benchmarking has considered the case handling activities of five comparableorganisations - some using an consumer advocacy approach to obtaining resolutionfor a consumer and others using an quasi-judicial adjudication approach: • Passenger Focus - consumer advocacy and negotiation • London TravelWatch - consumer advocacy and negotiation • Air Transport Users Council - consumer advocacy and negotiation • Bus Users UK - consumer advocacy and negotiation / Bus Appeals Body - adjudication • POSTRS - adjudicationSummarised descriptions of each organisations activities and processes arepresented in the reports appendices (A-D) together with a table of statistical data thathas been compiled to allow some comparisons to be made on the data collectedduring the course of this exercise.Overall, the exercise has shown that in many areas, such as performancemanagement, tracking systems and publicity, London TravelWatch are providing alevel of service that compares well against the activities and structures of similarbodies particularly when comparative resources are taken into account. Our researchalso suggests that the service provided represents value for money given thecomparisons made on staffing costs, workload volumes and customer satisfactionlevels.The areas that we have identified as giving potential for further consideration byLondon TravelWatch are:Development of a target for case closurePassenger Focus were able to clearly demonstrate the positive impact on customersatisfaction from using an overall target for closing the case and keeping thecustomer informed of the date (customer satisfaction with case handling improvedfrom 73% to 86%). Targets for case closure are common of course within internalcomplaint procedures but also, increasingly, for independent complaint resolutionsservices. Customer service research also often suggests that managing customerexpectations about response times can have a considerable impact on satisfactionlevels.Both Bus Users UK and the Air Transport Users Council recognised that they do notcurrently use targets for case closure but indicated that they were likely to developtargets at some point in the future.Development of performance indicators for tracking outcomes achievedWe are aware that London TravelWatch already collects data about the outcomesachieved on passengers who have a complaint (appeal) handled by the organisation.We also found that the Air Transport Users Council collects and regularly monitorsthe outcomes achieved for passengers.Passenger Focus found that a focus on performance managing the amounts ofcompensation gained and whether or not a positive outcome was obtained forpassengers has helped them to deliver greater consistency in their complainthandling (and allows them to make sure all companies are challenged in aconsistent, fair and reasonable manner and their advisers achieve consistentoutcomes that are not influenced by the company that is being dealt with). 4
  5. 5. We recommend that London TravelWatch uses this opportunity to review what couldbe usefully monitored and tracked to show on a regular basis the outcomes that arebeing achieved for passengers.Regular meetings with companies and organisationsPassenger Focus collect a proportion of responses from train operating companies totheir enquiries (enquiries made during the handling of an appeal) through regularmeetings between the senior passenger advisers and link officers at the trainoperating companies. Both Bus Users UK and the Air Transport Users Councilsuggested that they will also use this method on occasion.We are also aware from other sectors and our experiences that, for example, anOmbudsman or even, in large organisations, an internal complaint review team, willuse regular meetings with a company/service provider to collect comments onindividual casework where performance in responding is known to be weak orslipping.We recommend that London TravelWatch considers our findings and, we suggest,pilots an exercise where this approach could be tested for an ongoing period of timeand the outcomes monitored and analysed. We believe that this is an area whereLondon TravelWatch has the potential to improve the time taken to resolve difficultand/or complex cases and monitor any issues arising. 5
  6. 6. Appendix A: Air Transport Users Council (AUC)The Air Transport Users Council deal with unresolved complaints about airline andairport companies in the UK.Air passengers who are dissatisfied with a companys response, can complain byphone, in writing or by email to the Air Transport Users Council (the majority ofcomplaints are received now by email).The casework team will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within a target of 2days.The complaint handler will attempt to resolve a complaint by making contact with theoperating company - by phone or email or, occasionally, a meeting. If a response isnot received within 28 days, a reminder will be sent to the company. If no response isreceived after the 3 attempts, AUC may have to decide to close the case becauseairlines and airports are not required by regulation to deal with them (unless thecomplaint is about an activity defined by European Regulation 261/2004).PublicityThe right to complain to the Air Transport Users Council is publicised using a varietyof methods: • Local authority trading standards services; and • Citizen Advice Bureaux; and • Published links on Consumer Direct website; and • Internet search engines.ResourcesThe complaint handling activities are funded by the Civil Aviation Authority. Thecasework team includes: 6 complaint handlers 1 consumer affairs manager 2 administration assistants 1 systems and processes managerThe team currently use a Microsoft Access database to record details of thecomplaints and enquiries received. The system allows simple tracking by case type(enquiry, complaint, appeal, surgery), company complained about, category ofproblem and closure reason: • Compensation gained • Action taken by airline • Airlines reply accepted • Airlines reply not accepted • Not taken up • No reply from airline • Airline to reply direct • Advice offered only • For information only 6
  7. 7. • Injury/accident • Referred to NEB • Expenses/refund reimbursed • Open/new enquiryThe AUC, as a passenger watchdog, is not limited to addressing the concerns ofindividual air passengers and complaints are often used as the basis for publishingreports, such as 2009s report on compensation for mishandled luggage ("Theluggage lottery - an AUC report into compensation payments to passengers formishandled baggage"). 7
  8. 8. Appendix B: Bus Users UK / Bus Appeals BodyBus Users UK and the CPT provide the Bus Appeals Body service. The service willdeal with unresolved complaints about local bus or express coach operatingcompanies in England (and Wales).Passengers who are dissatisfied with an operators response or get no response(after 4 weeks), can complain in writing or by email to Bus Users UK (the majority ofcomplaints are received now by email). The Bus Users UK complaint handler will tryto sort out the problem by contacting the operating company but, if unable to resolve,may refer the complaint for adjudication by the Bus Appeals Body.The complaint handler will attempt to resolve a complaint by making contact with theoperating company - by phone or email or, occasionally, a meeting. If a case remainsun-actioned for 30 days, the case will be flagged for attention on the case trackersystem.The adjudication process involves an initial assessment of the complaint by adesignated Bus Users UK representative and designated operators representative -if resolution cannot be achieved, a reasoned but non-binding judgement is deliveredby the adjudicator, Lord Snape of Wednesbury.In addition to the complaints and enquiries dealt with by the complaint handler andthe Bus Appeals Body, Bus Users UK also collect complaints and compliments atsurgeries that they run across the country. The complaints are often resolved at thesurgeries but may be escalated to Bus Users UK and/or the Bus Appeals Body asnecessary.PublicityThe right to complain to the Bus Appeals Body / Bus Users UK is publicised using avariety of methods: • Signposting in company responses (this was accepted as being infrequent); and • Timetables published by local authorities (although not all local authorities do so); and • Posters, displayed in vehicles and at stations, for some operators; and • Published links on some of the operating company websites (we did carry out a search of Arrivas website but could not find any reference to either the Bus Appeals Body or London Travelwatch); and • Passenger Focus activities - because Passenger Focus now have the remit for bus passenger champion, for services in England outside of London, they are starting to help to increase public awareness of Bus Users UK and the Bus Appeals Body.ResourcesThe complaint handling and adjudication activities are funded by Bus Users UK. BusUsers UK are in the process of recruiting a full-time member of staff to carry out thecomplaint handling activities and another full-time member of staff to carry out thesurgery activities.A new case tracking system was recently implemented with their intranet site. Thesystem allows simple tracking by case type (enquiry, complaint, appeal, surgery) andcategory of problem: • Service reliability • Driver/staff attitude 8
  9. 9. • Level of service• Vehicle condition• Bus failed to stop• Capacity• Access• Ticket issues• Concessionary pass issues• Injury/accident• Incorrect information• Luggage• Other• Compliment 9
  10. 10. Appendix C: Postal Redress Service (POSTRS)IDRS Limited provide the Postal Redress Service (POSTRS). The Postal RedressService (POSTRS) is an independent body whose role is to resolve disputesbetween licensed postal operators and their customers.The law requires that all licensed postal operators be a member of an AlternativeDispute Resolution (ADR) scheme approved by the Postal Commission (Postcomm).Launched on 1 October 2008, POSTRS is currently the only approved scheme.Customers, who are dissatisfied at the final stage of postal operators complaintprocedure (Royal Mail has four internal stages within their complaint procedure), cancomplain by phone, textphone, fax, form, online form, in writing or by email toPOSTRS.The casework team will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within a target of 5working days.On receipt of a new case, a case administrator will advise the relevant company thatthey have 14 days to settle or submit a defence. The company may request a 7 dayextension but, if no defence received, POSTRS can make a decision without acompany defence.On receipt of a companys defence, the details of the defence are sent to thecomplainant who has an opportunity to then submit comments. The case will then beconsidered by an adjudicator (who must be a lawyer) who will issue a written,reasoned decision. The decision may be in favour of the company, in favour of theconsumer or a split decision. The possible outcomes, when a decision is made in thecomplainants favour, are: • Monetary • Apology • Explanation • Up to £50 compensation for poor complaint handling • Specific action for the complainant (such as provision of a service)The target for completing the adjudication process is 6 weeks (100% are currentlycompleted within this target). The complainant has 28 days to accept or reject adecision and a company has 28 days to comply with the decision (a decision isbinding on the company if accepted by the complainant).POSTRS publish key performance indicator data on a quarterly basis on theirwebsite.PublicityThe right to complain to POSTRS is publicised using a variety of methods: • Postal operators final response must signpost the complainant to POSTRS; and • Postal operators website and code of practice.ResourcesThe service is funded by subscription payments from member companies. Thecasework "team", based in London, includes: 1 casework administrator 10
  11. 11. 1 adjudicatorIf required, IDRS Limited operate an external panel of adjudicators that can be usedto adjudicate on POSTRS cases.The team currently use an in-house developed SQL-based database to record detailsof the complaints and enquiries received. The system allows automatic tracking bycase type and stage (enquiry, application, case activated, appointment of adjudicator,publication of decision) including automated monitoring of deadlines at each stageand capture of all correspondence. The database also records company complainedabout, category of problem, closure reason, compensation awarded, actions and KPIdata.POSTRS is an adjudication service - not a consumer watchdog or a consumerchampion. POSTRS is required to identify and report to the postal regulator,Postcomm, on wider trends identified from their adjudication activities. The schemeis overseen by a council comprising industry and lay representative members underan independent chair. 11
  12. 12. Appendix D: Passenger FocusPassenger Focus is an independent public body set up by the Government to protectthe interests of Britains rail passengers and England’s bus and tram passengersoutside of London and coach passengers on scheduled domestic services. However,they do not deal with appeals or complaints from bus and tram passengers outside ofLondon. Passenger Focus carry out evidence-based campaigning and research butalso deliver a complaint handling (appeals) service to help get the best deal forpassengers. The appeals service will deal with unresolved complaints about trainoperating companies in England (and Wales).Passengers who are dissatisfied with an operators response, are advised tocomplain in writing, using an online form or by email (the majority of complaints arereceived now by email or online form). An outsourced contact centre handles all initialenquiries.Initially, a passenger adviser will receive a new complaint and send anacknowledgement letter or email to the complainant. This correspondence willinclude the expected date for a full response to be sent to the complainant.Previously, Passenger Focus did not provide a date but has found that providing adate has reduced repeat contacts and increased satisfaction with the service from73% to 86%.After acknowledging receipt of the appeal, the adviser will then assign the case to acaseworker (senior passenger adviser) for action. The caseworker will decide if acase can be dealt with as an enquiry (without requiring information from the trainoperating company) or needs to be referred back for a response by the trainoperating company (an initial complaint) or needs to be directed to anotherorganisation (such as London TravelWatch or the Bus Appeals Body). If the case is tobe handled as a new appeal, the caseworker will review the evidence and requestcomments from the company. Many requests for comments are packaged andresponses collected by visiting the relevant company on a quarterly basis (the SeniorPassenger Advisers attend the meetings). These meetings are also used to discusstrends and other related issues. Other requests for comments are dealt with byphone or email with the relevant train operating company.The target for closing an appeal case (by delivering a full response to the passnger)is 35 working days (acknowledgements are sent within 5 working days, enquiriesclosed within 5 working days and initials referred back to the train operating companywithin 5 working days). Performance is measured on a monthly basis using a set often indicators (also including complainant satisfaction with the service, complaintsabout the service and compensation gained for complainants). Outcomes achievedare also measured using a "positive - neutral - negative" categorisation method andmonitored monthly.Passenger Focus categorise root causes of complaints in detail and also categoriseenquiries (campaigns, research, information, enquiry).PublicityThe right to complain to Passenger Focus is publicised using a variety of methods: • Posters displayed in train carriages and at stations; and • Published links on operating company websites.ResourcesPassenger Focus are funded by the Department for Transport. An outsourced contact 12
  13. 13. centre handles all phone and email enquiries The casework team, based inManchester, includes: 3 passenger advisers (2 from April 2010) 4 senior passenger advisers 1 passenger advice managerThe team currently use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to record and manage thecomplaints and enquiries received. 13
  14. 14. Appendix E: London TravelWatchLondon TravelWatch is the official independent watchdog representing the interestsof transport users in and around London. The role of London TravelWatch is to speakup for transport users in discussions with policy makers and the media; consult withthe transport industry, its regulators and funders on matters affecting users; tomonitor trends in service quality; and carry out research.London TravelWatch is also a statutory appeals body and its casework team handlespassenger complaints that have not been satisfactorily resolved - the servicescovered are those operated, procured or licensed by Transport for London, whichincludes London Underground, Londons buses, Docklands Light Railway, CroydonTramlink, Dial-a-Ride services, London River Services, Woolwich Free Ferry, taxis,private hire cars and most of the major roads in Greater London. In addition, theteam also deals with services operated by the national rail companies, HeathrowExpress and Eurostar.Passengers who are dissatisfied with an operators response, are advised tocomplain in writing, using an online form or by email (the majority of complaints arereceived now by email or online form). All enquiries are handled by the teamscasework assistants.All new complaints and enquiries received are initially acknowledged by letter oremail.After acknowledging receipt, the casework manager will then assign the case to acaseworker for action. The caseworker will decide if a case can be dealt with as anenquiry (without requiring information from the relevant service provider - this isknown as a direct) or needs to be referred back for a response by the serviceprovider (an initial complaint) or needs to be directed to another organisation (suchas Passenger Focus or the Bus Appeals Body). If the case is to be handled as a newappeal, the caseworker will review the evidence and request comments from theservice provider. These requests for comments are emailed to an identified linkperson for the service provider who will arrange for a response to be sent to LondonTravelWatch.Targets for appeals are focused on acknowledging receipt (5 working days), timetaken to pass on to the service provider (5 working days from receipt of case) or timetaken to send a final reply to the complainant when there is no need to requestfurther information (10 working days from receipt of case), and time taken to close acase after service providers have provided a proper response (within 10 workingdays of receipt of response). London TravelWatch has agreed with service providersthat they will send substantive replies to appeals queries within 20 working days.Complaint handling targets are set out in complaints handling policies which requiretrain operators to respond within a given period. These procedures form part of theirlicense and performance is overseen by the relevant external regulatory bodies.There is no equivalent regulatory overview of Transport for London.London TravelWatch categorise root causes of complaints in detail, modes oftransport, applicable route(s)/jouney(s), station(s) and also categorise enquiries. Aquestionnaire is sent out when cases are closed to gauge satisfaction both with thecase outcome and handling.PublicityThe right to complain to London TravelWatch is publicised using a variety of 14
  15. 15. methods: • Posters displayed in vehicles and at stations; and • Information advertised in daily newspapers for London; and • Published links on operating company websites.ResourcesLondon TravelWatch is sponsored and funded by the London Assembly (part of theGreater London Authority). The casework team includes: 2 casework assistants 3.2 full-time equivalent caseworkers 1 casework managerThe team currently use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to record and manage thecomplaints and enquiries received. 15
  16. 16. Appendix F: Collected data Benchmarking area Air Users Council POSTRS Bus Appeals Body Passenger Focus London TravelW atchRemit Geographical United Kingdom United Kingdom England (and Wales) Great Britain (Rail) London England (in and around London) (Bus, coach and tram) Modes Airlines Post Bus Rail Bus (Complaint handling) Airports Express coach Rail stations Tram Bus and coach stations Underground Rail River/Ferry Taxi/Private hire vehicles StationsVolumes Appeals 5755 283 588 / 73 2182 2854 Enquiries 7930 310 2805 / 600 1615# 7200** Premature/Initial 392 Not recorded Not available 1567 1600Timeliness Acknowledgement 2 days 7 days No target 7 days 7 days 100.00% 100.00% Not applicable 95.00% 96.70% Company response 28 days 14 days 30 days Monthly meetings 28 days Not available Not available Not available Not applicable 55.80% Case closure No target 42 days 56 days 49 days No target Not applicable 100.00% Not available 91.00% Not applicableOutcomes Outcomes achieved Apologies Apologies Apologies Apologies Apologies Compensation Compensation Compensation Compensation Compensation Refunds Refunds Refunds Refunds Refunds Action for individual Action for individual Action for individual Action for individual Action for individual Company action Company action* Company action Company action Policy Policy* Policy Policy Strategy Strategy* Strategy Strategy Compensation - cases 360 (6.25%) Not collectively available Not collectively available Unknown 225 (7.88%) total £ Unknown Not collectively available Not collectively available £69,798.44 £12,173.00 average £ Unknown Not available Not available £31.99 £4.27Satisfaction Satisfaction with outcome Not collected Not collected Not collected Not collected 70.00% Satisfaction with handling Not collected Not collected Not collected 86.00% 79.00%Resources Staffing 6 complaint handlers 1 adjudicator 1 complaint handler 3 advisers 2 casework assistants 1 consumer affairs manager 1 administrator 1 external affairs manager 4 senior advisers 3.2 caseworkers 1 system and processes manager Shared - 1 database administrator 1 administrator 1 manager 1 manager 2 admin 1 surgeries officer 1 adjudicator Staffing costs £294,131.00 Unable to share information Not currently available £235,000.00 @ £226,000.00 ICT Access In-house Web-based case tracker Microsoft CRM Microsoft CRMNotes: All target times have been converted to calendar days to allow for consistent comparisons to be made. All data collected was for a 12 month period covering either calendar 2009 or 2009/2010.* Outcomes that can be achieved by Bus Users UK# Passenger Focus enquiries are handled by an outsourced contact centre@ This amount does not include costs associated with handling enquiries (received by the outsourced contact centre)** Estimated - based on six months’ actual data extrapolated to full year.
  17. 17. Appendix G: Initial researchOur initial research aimed to identify contact details for each organisation and headline data relatedto that organisations casework / complaint handling functions.Bus Appeals BodyBAB, c/o Bus Users UKPO Box 2950Stoke-on-TrentST4 9EWThe Bus Appeals Body (BAB) is a non-statutory committee offering independent review ofcomplaints arising from the operation of local bus and scheduled coach services.The Body is a joint initiative by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (UK), (the industrystrade association) and Bus Users UK, which looks after the interests of passengers. The TrafficCommissioners, who issue the licences under which bus and coach companies operate, assistedin drawing up its Terms of Reference.The website has very limited information and no information about the casework activities of theorganisation. However, this organisation would obviously be very useful to compare against giventhe similarities in its remit.(note: the Bus Appeals Bodys website has a links area that still refers to London Transport UsersCommittee rather than London TravelWatch)Passenger Focus5th FloorWellington House39/41 PiccadillyManchesterM1 1LQPhone: 0300 123 2140Passenger Focus is the independent passenger watchdog. Their mission is to get the best deal forpassengers.If a passenger is unhappy with the outcome of a complaint to a train company or does not feel thetrain company handled it appropriately, then they may be able to help. Passenger Focus state thatthey can make representations to mediate with the train company on the passengers behalf.Passenger Focus aim to independently review your complaint and judge whether they feel it washandled fairly and appropriately. If they feel that the train company could do more, then PassengerFocus will make representation to them.A total of 22,625 passengers contacted Passenger Focus in 2008/09. During this same period,Passenger Focus received 3,123 appeal complaints about train companies. 73% of thepassengers who complained to Passenger Focus were satisfied with the way their complaint wasdealt with (this does not relate to the outcome).Passenger Focus annual report did not give any indication of the time taken to deal with cases orthe outcomes achieved. However, again this organisation would be very useful to compare againstgiven the similarities in its remit.Passenger Transport ExecutivesThe regional Passenger Transport Executives (PTE) are responsible for the co-ordination of public
  18. 18. transport in their region. Public information about their complaint handling functions is very limitedalthough the Greater Manchester PTE does have a published target for responding to complaintswithin 15 working days.Traffic CommissionersThe Traffic Commissioners use their powers to ensure that people operating passenger carryingvehicles and large goods vehicles are reputable, competent, and adequately funded. The TrafficCommissioners will take action to encourage all operators to adopt robust systems, so that there isfair competition and that the operation of goods and public service vehicles is safe. TrafficCommissioners can also impose financial penalties against bus companies for failures to runregistered local transport services on time.If deciding a case at a public inquiry, they are acting in a judicial capacity. That means that we haveto ensure that, like any other tribunal in Great Britian, the proceedings are fair and free from anyunjustified interference or bias.During 2008/2009, the seven traffic commissioners received 37 complaints against existingoperating centres. 15 of these were called to Public Inquiry. The commissioners also handled15,119 driver conduct cases.Air Transport Users CouncilCAA House45-59 KingswayLondonWC2B 6TEPhone: 020 7240 6061Email: admin@auc.org.ukThe Air Transport Users Council (AUC) is the UKs consumer council for air travellers. They helpindividual passengers with complaints and enquiries about air travel and promote the interests ofpassengers with industry, government and regulators.During 2008/09, the AUC handled 12,307 complaints and enquiries. Of these, 5953 were in writingand 6354 were by telephone.The website did not give any indication of the time taken to deal with cases, the outcomesachieved or satisfaction with the service. However, again this organisation would be very useful tocompare against given the similarities in its remit to handle complaints from passengers of a modeof transport.Postal Review Panel[address unknown]The objective of the Postal Review Panel is to find a mutually satisfactory resolution for a complaintabout a Royal Mail service.The Postal Review Panel considers complaints at the fourth stage of the Royal Mails complaintsprocess. The unit sits outside of the Royal Mail customer complaints process and was set up totake a fresh and impartial look at a case. After carrying out a review, the Postal Review Panel willestablish and provide a final response from Royal Mail about the complaint. The published targetfor delivering this response is 30 days.The website gave no other details about the panel.Postal Redress ServiceAngel GateCity Road
  19. 19. LondonEC1V 2PTPhone: 020 7520 3766Email: info@postrs.org.ukThe Postal Redress Service (POSTRS) is an independent body whose role is to resolve disputesbetween licensed postal operators and their customers. All licensed postal operators are requiredby law to be a member of an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme approved by the PostalCommission (Postcomm). POSTRS was launched on 1 October 2008 and is currently the onlyapproved scheme.The service has a target to publish a decision to the parties involved within six weeks from receiptof the application. A further six weeks is allowed for the complainant to decide whether or not theywish to accept the decision. The website suggests that research has shown that most consumerswho accept the decision (80% of consumers) do so within 10 days of receipt of the decision.The website did not give any indication of the volume of cases handled or other related data.Traffic Penalty Tribunal (formerly National Parking Adjudication Service)Barlow HouseMinshull StreetManchesterM1 3DZPhone: 0161 242 5252Email: info@trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.ukThe Traffic Penalty Tribunal decides appeals against parking penalties issued by Civil EnforcementAuthorities in England (outside London) and Wales and against bus-lane penalties issued by CivilEnforcement Authorities in England (outside London). The Traffic Penalty Tribunal is anindependent tribunal whose impartial, independent Adjudicators consider appeals by motorists andvehicle owners whose vehicles have been: • issued with parking a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) - or have been removed (towed away) or immobilised (clamped) - by a council in England (outside London) and Wales that enforces parking contraventions under the Traffic Management Act 2004. • issued with a bus-lane Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by a council in England (outside London) that enforces bus-lane contraventions under the Bus Lane Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005.The Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) took over from the National Parking Adjudication Service(NPAS) from 31 March 2008. This change was made to allow for the new traffic regulationsintroduced from 31 March 2008 under the terms of the Traffic Management Act 2004 and to createmore accessible online access to the Tribunal.The service handled 10,883 appeals (in 2007), acknowledged 92% within 2 working days, decided90% of postal cases within 7 weeks and offered 64% personal hearings within 8 weeks ofregistration (88% within 12 weeks).Parking and Traffic Appeals ServiceAngel SquareUpper Ground FloorBlock 2LondonEC1V 1NYParking Adjudicators to LondonParking Adjudicators are judicial office holders. They decide appeals from members of the publicagainst penalties imposed by London local authorities, including Transport for London, for
  20. 20. contraventions of traffic controls relating to• parking• bus lanes• moving traffic• the London lorry ban.The parking adjudicators handled 64,072 appeals during 2007/2008. The administration functionsof the parking adjudicators are delivered by the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service.Road User Charging AdjudicatorsThe Road User Charging Adjudicators Tribunal is an independent tribunal which decides appealsagainst Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone penalties in London.The Road User Charging Adjudicators received 11,835 appeals during 2008/2009. 4,854 caseswere not contested by Transport for London and 62% of cases were first considered within 56days.The administration functions of the tribunal are delivered by the Parking and Traffic AppealsService.London Borough of Southwark - Customer feedback unit4th floorLaurence HouseCatfordLondon SE6 4RUPhone: 020 7525 2599The London Borough of Southwark provides a wide variety of services to the local residents,business and visitors. Transport related services include freedom passes, parking enforcement,roads maintenance, transport planning and home to school transport.The councils Customer Feedback Unit reports to the Deputy Chief Executive and handled 850complaints during 2008/2009. These complaints are appeals against the decision of a departmenton a complaint. The staffing costs of the unit were £744,000. The unit has a target to respond tocomplaints within 20 working days and further escalations within another 25 working days.The unit also handles enquiries from the Local Government Ombudsman - the Ombudsman issuednearly 200 decisions on Southwark complaints during 2008/2009.London Borough of Lewisham - Independent AdjudicatorTown HallCatfordLondon SE6 4RUPhone: 020 8314 6340The London Borough of Lewisham provides a wide variety of services to the local residents,business and visitors. Transport related services include freedom passes, parking enforcement,roads maintenance, transport planning and home to school transport.If a customer is unhappy with the response that they received from a department at stage 2 ofLewisham Councils complaint procedure, they can ask the independent adjudicator to carry out areview of the complaint. The independent adjudicator has a target to send a response to thecomplainant within 30 working days. The Independent Adjudicator handled 69 cases during2008/2009 and is supported by a complaints unit that handles enquiries and providesadministration support.
  21. 21. RecommendationWe recommend that the following organisations are contacted and a visit arranged to allow acomparison to be made with the casework functions of London TravelWatch: • Bus Appeals Body (Stoke on Trent) • Passenger Focus (Manchester) • Air Transport Users Council (London) • Postal Redress Service (London)Our recommendation is based on three of these organisations handling passenger appealcomplaints and also the Postal Redress Service given that this body also handles appealcomplaints from consumers but allowing comparison outside of the travel and transport sector. Wedecided not to recommend the transport commissioners or various adjudicators because the role ofthese bodies is to act as a tribunal that will often deliver decisions through hearings rather thaninvestigative casework and negotiation.The two London boroughs were not recommended because both provided complaint resolutionservices that remained within the management of the organisation (in a similar way to the RoyalMails Postal Review Panel). However, if we do experience difficulties in contacting any otherselected organisations, either of these could still provide a useful comparison.We also recommend that the benchmarking exercise focuses on arranging visits to each of therecommended organisations to compare the following areas across each organisation (where datais made available to us): • Volume of complaints handled • Volume of other enquiries handled • Performance in time taken to close a case (average number of days) • Outcomes achieved • Complainant satisfaction with outcome achieved • Complainant satisfaction with organisations handling of complaint • Staffing (casework administrative support) - including headcount and costs • Information technology systems used to support the casework functions

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